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Thread: Undergraduate degree in urban studies

  1. #1

    Undergraduate degree in urban studies

    I am currently a senior in High School, but will be attending the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee in the fall of 2010. When I applied, I was positive I wanted to go for a BFA in Art with an emphasis in both Graphic Design and Photography. I wanted to work as a graphic designer and do photography kind of as a hobby or possibly professionally. I love graphic design and photography a lot, and could definately see myself doing them for a living for the rest of my life. However, a new program at UWM is strongly appealing to me after I did a little research- Urban Studies. For many years, I have loved seeing towns and cities, and looking at their unique parts, especially the downtown or main street areas. Something about them just draws me in. Whenever I'm traveling through different cities in a car, I can't help but stare out the window and study every little bit of the downtown area. I love to see people moving about, and see all the unique boutiques and aspects of each city. Some areas just give out this feeling that makes me want to continue to return there and go shopping, grab something to eat, or just hang out. I am starting to realize that I would also really love shaping cities into much more enjoyable environments. My ideal job in this area of study would be to bring life to old and worn down areas of communities and neighborhoods, or improve existing areas. To bring colorful shops and and urban feel to a dim and dull street. I hope to live in Milwaukee after college, and would love to help out in the city. I could see myself working to improve neighborhoods like Downer Avenue or Brady Street, or similar areas. Having grown up in a small town of about 9000, working with smaller towns and cities would also appeal to me. My hometown is not as active and appealing as I wish it was, and I would love to bring energy and excitement downtown.

    I'm not sure if I want to double major, or if I want to choose one or the other, but do I seem like a good candidate for the Urban Studies program?

    What is the job market like for Urban Studies majors? Could I find an enjoyable job with a bachelors degree, or is a masters degree usually required for this kind of area? Is the pay good, and is the work environment comfortable?

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Charlotte, NC / Florence, Tuscany
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    The fact that you're on this website at all is a step in the right direction -
    however, the fact that you haven't even really looked into the field yet is a concern - which you can't possibly say you have if you're still asking what's the pay like.

    If you are considering majoring in urban studies, you should look into the career of being a urban/regional planner - easily done on wiki or collegeboard.com (in its most basic form, anyway)

    Then look into the program at UW - if the program isn't very strong and this is a major/career you're serious about, then you should make sure the program will really be worth it, which it just may not be, if it's so new. Maybe you're serious enough about it to switch colleges if a nearby (or not) college has a better program, along with your photography and other needs.

    As far as masters vs. bachelors - masters is certainly preferred, but as a college freshman, just discovering the wonderful world of planning, I still inspecting my chances. Anything can (hopefully) happen, if you want it bad enough.

    Finally the work environment differs, so you'll also have to find that out on your own. Logically, urban planning is all about LOCATION. Please keep that in mind wherever you go in relation to this major and career (college-wise, living-wise, everything).
    Being still in HS, the best thing you could do right now is work hard to find an internship. Find a firm in your city, let them know you're on the timer as far as picking a college and major related to planning goes, and tell them you would love to work for them (for free!) just to get a feel of the field. If this turns out to not be an option, then do lots of research. Find a pro on this website and talk to them, get the real scoop.

    Best of luck to you dear, I'm basically in the same boat as you. =]

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